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Old February 15th, 2014, 11:07 PM   #9741
Penn's Woods
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The most interesting thing about that article may be the first sentence: "Chances are if you find yourself talking about the ongoing protests in Kyiv, you'll slip up and refer to the country in which Kyiv is situated as "the Ukraine.""

"Chances are" and "slip up"? Meaning, most English-speakers will say "the Ukraine" and they'll be wrong. I'm of the school of thought that says if most people say X it is by definition not wrong.

EDIT: Arrows for Chris.
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Old February 15th, 2014, 11:21 PM   #9742
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the best part is probably you will say "Kiev" and not "Kyiv" too
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Old February 15th, 2014, 11:24 PM   #9743
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(Shhh! Don't tell anyone!)

At least I don't say "Lemberg."

Which reminds me, someone on Le Monde's forum, a year or two ago, was arguing for why "Lvov" was better French than "Lviv." Can't remember his rationale....
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Old February 15th, 2014, 11:37 PM   #9744
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
"The Bahamas" are islands. You need a "the." I guess "the Gambia" is called that because it's named after a river. Just like "the Bronx," in New York City, is short for "Borough of the Bronx [River]."

Non-native speakers of English - even national governments - don't get to say what's "wrong" in English: they have absolutely no authority. (Seriously: if Germany demanded that English-speakers start saying "Deutschland," or France demanded we stop pronouncing the S in "Paris," would we do it? Of course not. Language doesn't work that way. So why should it be different for Burma or the Ukraine?)
Non-native speakers have a right to propose how something should be written in English, but it's a question, if others will follow it. But seeing how English is a global language ("Globish"), it may very well happen. For example, I hate it that there's no word for an inhabitant of the Balkans (demonym).
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Old February 15th, 2014, 11:45 PM   #9745
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Name disputes can be problematic for ordinary people:

Macedonian visa cancelled by Greek authorities in 1993 ("Seal invalid for Greek authorities")



Note inscription at the bottom of the visa: "Property of the government of Republic Macedonia" (seems grammatically incorrect to me).
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Old February 15th, 2014, 11:57 PM   #9746
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Non-native speakers have a right to propose how something should be written in English, but it's a question, if others will follow it. But seeing how English is a global language ("Globish"), it may very well happen. For example, I hate it that there's no word for an inhabitant of the Balkans (demonym).
I'm sorry, no. In every language in the world except English, educated native speakers make the rules and non-native learners follow them the best they can. You're saying that English-speakers are the only people in the world without that control over their own language. (I realize that that's a very popular point of view on the Continent, and it's come up before on this forum, but it's wrong.)
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Old February 15th, 2014, 11:59 PM   #9747
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I'm of the school of thought that says if most people say X it is by definition not wrong.
So, if suddenly the majority of English speakers starts writing "their" instead if "they're", you'll have to change the rules of your language because "majority wins"? This is not matter of democracy, you know.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:09 AM   #9748
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Oh? Who DOES set the rules of English? The U.N.? The E.U.? The Italian government? Random foreigners on random forums, many of whom can't produce three sentences in a row without making mistakes a native speaker would never make and some of whom are downright unintelligible? The Ukrainian government? Because there's certainly no official body in the English-speaking world with the authority the Académie française has (or the authority the Académie française thinks it has). Rules of language are not set in stone, or you all'd all still be speaking classical Latin. A community of speakers makes up its language as it goes along through life. That's the way it's always worked.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:13 AM   #9749
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I really have to say, I can't still figure out why are you taking everything personal.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:15 AM   #9750
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Pot...kettle...

Disagreeing with you is taking things "personal"? ("Personally," actually.)
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:16 AM   #9751
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I'm sorry, no. In every language in the world except English, educated native speakers make the rules and non-native learners follow them the best they can. You're saying that English-speakers are the only people in the world without that control over their own language. (I realize that that's a very popular point of view on the Continent, and it's come up before on this forum, but it's wrong.)
I don't understand why you get so worked up. If somebody was supposed to make the rules, that would be the British and not the 'native speakers'.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:19 AM   #9752
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Quote:
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Pot...kettle...

Disagreeing with you is taking things "personal"? ("Personally," actually.)
No. But answering "this is my country, my language, and nobody has to criticize them, ever" is. You did that on multiple occasions, not just now.

There are other ways to argue. But I guess what the answer will be "this is my way to argue, and who are you to tell me how do I have to do that?".

EDIT: I heard "personal" in many occasions, even in TV shows. By your own definition, it should be correct.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:22 AM   #9753
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I don't understand why you get so worked up. If somebody was supposed to make the rules, that would be the British and not the 'native speakers'.
Why is that? The vast majority of native speakers of English are not, in fact, British.

But that's exactly the issue: The fact that the Ukrainian government has decided that it doesn't want its country to be called "the Ukraine" in English is not something that people are going to start respecting overnight. Because language doesn't work that way. It evolves. That's really all I'm saying.

And I'm a 49-year-old, highly-educated, native speaker of English who takes language - my own and others - seriously and writes and edits for a living. If that isn't an excuse for getting irritated when people from Timisoara start telling me I'm misusing my own language....
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:26 AM   #9754
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No. But answering "this is my country, my language, and nobody has to criticize them, ever" is. You did that on multiple occasions, not just now.

There are other ways to argue. But I guess what the answer will be "this is my way to argue, and who are you to tell me how do I have to do that?".
It's not a matter of "criticism" of the language. If I were to tell you your Italian is bad just because it's, I don't know, out of line with the Italian I'd learned in school, you'd have every right to be angry with me. But I'd never say that.

And there's a difference between legitimate criticism of my (or anyone's) country, as opposed to criticism based on the bullshit stereotypes about it that are commonplace in Europe. And hypocritical criticism based on the easily disproven assumption that Europeans would never, ever hurt anyone.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:29 AM   #9755
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Quote:
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It's not a matter of "criticism" of the language. If I were to tell you your Italian is bad just because it's, I don't know, out of line with the Italian I'd learned in school, you'd have every right to be angry with me. But I'd never say that.

And there's a difference between legitimate criticism of my (or anyone's) country, as opposed to criticism based on the bullshit stereotypes about it that are commonplace in Europe. And hypocritical criticism based on the easily disproven assumption that Europeans would never, ever hurt anyone.
What does this have to do with anything I said? I said "language isn't about what the majority of people say and write", and this is true for English but also for Italian. There are a number of neologisms being slowly accepted into Italian, like the dreadful "a me mi", which I would never, ever say or write. Because it's plain wrong, no matter what the people say.
This time isn't really about USA. I did a general statement, that's why I was surprised you took so "personally".
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:51 AM   #9756
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The Ukraine probably comes from the fact that poles called it "ukraine" or suburbs, The Suburbs.
Also ukranians are regularly educating russians not to say "go on Ukraine" and use "go to Ukraine" instead
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:54 AM   #9757
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Quote:
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Why is that? The vast majority of native speakers of English are not, in fact, British.
Why? Because they have dibs on their language, so to speak. Alternatively, you can always rename the language to, I don't know, Americano and then make as many rules as you want. Surely, that won't be a problem for the highly-educated native speakers of Americano.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
But that's exactly the issue: The fact that the Ukrainian government has decided that it doesn't want its country to be called "the Ukraine" in English is not something that people are going to start respecting overnight. Because language doesn't work that way. It evolves. That's really all I'm saying.
Welcome to the age of political correctness. Calling their country "the Ukraine" offends the Ukrainians, just like the n-word offends another group of people. Such things transcend languages, so a little bit of sensitivity instead of the usual dogmatism wouldn't hurt.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:57 AM   #9758
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Ok, but can we get back to border crossings please...
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Old February 16th, 2014, 01:22 AM   #9759
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Why? Because they have dibs on their language, so to speak. Alternatively, you can always rename the language to, I don't know, Americano and then make as many rules as you want. Surely, that won't be a problem for the highly-educated native speakers of Americano.
....

Okay, so Mexicans, Argentines and Venezuelans don't speak Spanish and Brazilians don't speak Portuguese. And the Québécois don't speak French. Also, Belgians don't speak French or Dutch.... (Seriously, SINCE abstract, immutable standards don't exist, the vast majority of languages admit regional variations, certainly those that are spoken in multiple nation-states.)

And if English were only spoken in England, it wouldn't have assumed the importance it has on the Continent. In fact, you'd all be learning Americano and lecturing Americans on how to speak it. ;-)


Quote:
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Welcome to the age of political correctness. Calling their country "the Ukraine" offends the Ukrainians, just like the n-word offends another group of people. Such things transcend languages, so a little bit of sensitivity instead of the usual dogmatism wouldn't hurt.
But usage doesn't change overnight. I said "Ukraine" without a "the" sounds weird to me. It does; I can't help that and it doesn't make me anti-Ukrainian. I also said I would write it without the "the" if it came up in my work. (And for that matter, I said I don't say it with the "the," but on rereading my own posts, I see I'm mistaken. Which just shows that it's that ingrained.) As far as countries legislating their own names...well, Burma/Myanmar tried to get English-speakers to start calling it Myanmar long before the Ukraine issue came up and I thought at the time it was as if Germany were suddenly asking English-speakers to say "Deutschland." Which just somehow seemed outside their purview, so to speak. If Ukrainians find "the" Ukraine that bothersome they need to understand that most people aren't doing it to be insensitive but just because it's the term they're used to, and keep at it. (Which is not an argument that's applicable to the N-word, which was always offensive and any American knows it.)
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Old February 16th, 2014, 01:23 AM   #9760
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Ok, but can we get back to border crossings please...
You've closed all yours.

Or is Switzerland reestablishing them? Run down tomorrow and check it out for us.
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